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Understanding Shiite Leadership
The Art of the Middle Ground in Iran and Lebanon

$28.99 (C)

Part of Problems of International Politics

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107632677

$ 28.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In this book, Shaul Mishal and Ori Goldberg explore the ways in which Shiite leaderships in Iran and Lebanon approach themselves and their world. Contrary to the violent and radical image of religious leaderships in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Lebanese Hizballah, the political vision and practice of these leaderships view the world as a middle ground, shying away from absolutist and extremist tendencies. The political leadership assumed by Shiite religious scholars in Iran and Lebanon has transformed Shiite Islam from a marginalized minority to a highly politicized avant garde of Muslim presence, revitalized the practice and causes of political Islam in its struggle for legitimacy and authority, and reshaped the politics of the Middle East and the globe in its image. Utilizing approaches from social theory, history, theology, and literary criticism, the book presents these leaderships as pragmatic, interpretative entities with the potential to form fruitful relationships between Shiite leadership and the non-Shiite world.

    • Explores similarities between Iran and the US with regard to politics, culture and vision
    • Highlights the pragmatic, middle ground realism of Shiite religious leadership, in stark contrast with conventional wisdom
    • Provides an innovative perspective on the decision-making processes of Shiite leaderships, focusing on the highly dynamic and interactive nature of Shiite religious life
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This study is bound to give rise to the usual academic hullabaloo in light of its attempt to constructively assess what is at stake in our understanding of political radicalism and religious fundamentalism, the two easy labels of dismissing serious appreciation of the political consciousness at work in Iranian and other Shiite communities of the Middle East."
    Abdulaziz Sachedina, IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies, George Mason University, Virginia

    'Mishal and Goldberg (2014) directly address questions of interest to students of international relations … Understanding Shiite Leadership is an effort to unpack the world of the Shiite leadership in the Middle East.' Vikas Kumar, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107632677
    • length: 162 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 151 x 9 mm
    • weight: 0.26kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Leadership as interpretation
    2. The quest for authority
    3. Void and spaces
    4. Khomeini's middle ground
    5. Forming the middle ground: intra-Shiite issues
    6. Seeking the middle ground: extra-Shiite issues
    7. The struggle for the middle ground: the 2009 presidential elections
    8. Middle ground as resistance: Lebanese Hizballah
    9. HB and the temperate city
    Epilogue: Shiite leadership and the emergence of the middle ground regime.

  • Authors

    Shaul Mishal, Tel-Aviv University
    Shaul Mishal is a Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University and at the School of Government, IDC Herzlia, and a Visiting Professor at Yale University, Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and Senior Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has authored and co-authored several books on Palestinian issues including West Bank/East Bank, The PLO under Arafat, Speaking Stones with R. Aharoni, The Palestinian Hamas with A. Sela, and Investment in Peace with R. Kuperman and D. Boas. Mishal has authored numerous articles, which have appeared in many leading journals. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    Ori Goldberg, Tel-Aviv University
    Ori Goldberg teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Shi'i Theology in Iran: The Challenge of Religious Experience and Thinking Shi'a, as well as a collection of lectures examining Shiite culture, politics, and consciousness from various perspectives. Dr Goldberg's research focuses on the comparative study of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish theological thought; Middle East politics and culture; and the critical role of religious thought in social theory and practice. He received his Ph.D. in Middle Eastern History from Tel Aviv University.

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